Officials: 1 dead in commercial building fire in downtown New Rochelle

Officials: 1 dead in commercial building fire in downtown New Rochelle

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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Fire officials say one person was killed in a fire on Thursday morning.

Fires with property damage are terrible, but fire with loss of life are tragic. This one was the latter. An art deco commercial building at 2 Hamilton Place at the corner of North Avenue in the heart of New Rochelle was gutted, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

The blaze reached four alarms and more than 100 first responders arrived on the scene. Billowing smoke was first noticed at around 6 a.m.

The building contains one apartment, which Aiello was told was difficult to reach due to smoke, flames, and collapsing interiors. However, firefighters did reach the apartment, where they found a woman’s body. Further details were not immediately released by fire officials.

The building, which is right next to New Rochelle City Hall, contained many thriving businesses. One owner told Aiello she was in shock. She described the vibe among the various entrepreneurs as “like a family.” One man who owns a karate studio said he isn’t sure if he has the strength to rebuild.

“I’ve been teaching for 45 years on this street,” Raymond Fitzpatrick said. “Between the pandemic and Hurricane Ida and now this, I think it’s time for me to pack it in.”

There was an incredible effort by firefighters to knock down the flames. The hoses they were using kick out 1,000 gallons of water per minute and seven were being used on the fire, which means millions of gallons were used to fight the blaze since they first arrived on the scene.

Fire officials told Aiello the flames got into spaces between the ceiling and roof and spread, adding there were a lot of dense materials inside the building, which made the blaze so difficult to fight.

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